Detroit Metal City Toshio Lee

Detroit Metal City Toshio Lee
It would be easy to file Detroit Metal City under "Japan is weird” and enjoy it exclusively on that level but it’s actually better than that. Sure, at times it’s over-the-top, and the jokes are a bit hammy and repetitive, but the film seems to be in on the joke about 90-percent of the time, and the metal soundtrack is actually really good. I’m not sure who wrote the music for the fictional band but Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth) was listed in the credits, so if it was him he deserves some serious accolades.

Detroit Metal City is based on the manga of the same name, and the film is apparently a pretty faithful adaptation of the first two (of six or seven) volumes. It tells the story of Souichi, an idealistic country boy who just wants to be a trendy musician in trendy Tokyo.

Alas, life doesn’t always turn out the way we hope and the poor boy ends up in one of Japan’s heaviest death metal bands, Detroit Metal City, as front-man Johannes Klauser II. He screeches about rape and murder to an adoring throng of fans and the band’s success soon gets so out of control they’re scheduled to have a face-off with international metal king Jack Il Dark (played by Gene Simmons).

Thanks to his heavy makeup and outlandish costumes, he’s able to keep his alter-ego a secret from his trendy would-be girlfriend for a while but soon his two worlds begin to collide and Souichi must come to terms with the fact that even though DMC wasn’t his dream, it might be one worth pursuing. (Toho Co.)